Investing in Orchard Robotics

Announcing our investment in Orchard Robotics.

Jason Chen

March 27, 2024

It often feels like modern-day technology has left farmers behind. This isn’t because farmers are reluctant to adopt new technologies. Instead, innovation in farming technology has been hampered by long sales cycles, engrained legacy systems, and slow feedback loops. These factors have historically made venture-scale outcomes for startups in the space difficult to achieve, and many founders have therefore shied away.

Thankfully, Charlie Wu is the exception to this. With a family background in agriculture and a personal history of robotics research, he attended Cornell specifically to explore that intersection and then dropped out when he realized that building a company was a more appropriate path for him to make an impact. He is deeply curious, humble, adaptable, and technical - all traits that we look for in the founders we back.

Charlie is building Orchard Robotics, a company that sits at the forefront of precision crop management. The company affixes AI-driven camera systems to existing farm equipment in order to collect precise data (including count, size, color, growth rate, and more) at the level of each individual piece of fruit on every tree, all done faster and more affordably than ever before.

This data feeds Orchard OS, which in turn provides crop insights and advice directly to the grower. Over time, Orchard OS will serve as a holistic view of all farm operations, enabling growers to exert precise control over every facet of their workflow. Even more important, it will give them early visibility into yield and output which are critical to managing downstream components of the supply chain.

As recently as five years ago, this type of technology was untenable and inaccessible to all but the largest of farms. However, advancements across machine learning, computer vision, and edge computing, coupled with the increasing sophistication of farm operations, have provided a critical window of opportunity to target a much larger pool of growers. We are confident that Charlie is the exact right founder to take advantage of this.

Today, Orchard is announcing $3.8 million raised across their pre-seed and seed rounds, backed by Contrary, General Catalyst, and many others. We couldn’t be more proud to have led the pre-seed and to continue supporting Charlie and his team on their journey to enable the next generation of farm technology.

Disclosure: Nothing presented within this article is intended to constitute legal, business, investment or tax advice, and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Contrary LLC (“Contrary”) nor does such information constitute an offer to provide investment advisory services. Information provided reflects Contrary’s views as of a time, whereby such views are subject to change at any point and Contrary shall not be obligated to provide notice of any change. Companies mentioned in this article may be a representative sample of portfolio companies in which Contrary has invested in which the author believes such companies fit the objective criteria stated in commentary, which do not reflect all investments made by Contrary. No assumptions should be made that investments listed above were or will be profitable. Due to various risks and uncertainties, actual events, results or the actual experience may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in these statements. Nothing contained in this article may be relied upon as a guarantee or assurance as to the future success of any particular company. Past performance is not indicative of future results. A list of investments made by Contrary (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for Contrary to disclose publicly, Fund of Fund investments and investments in which total invested capital is no more than $50,000) is available at

Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by Contrary. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, Contrary has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Please see for additional important information.